In-House Testing for COVID-19
Cary Medical Center (CMC) is the first hospital in Aroostook County to have in-house testing for COVID-19. The first few tests were sent to the Maine CDC to validate the results, and CMC has since been approved to run in-house testing.
“The Maine CDC has done an excellent job with getting test results back to us quickly, but the reality is that we are in Aroostook County and they are in Augusta, and this will drastically decrease the turn-around time for results,” said Regen Gallagher, D.O., Chief Medical Officer at Cary Medical Center. “In-house testing will now allow us to get results back in about four to six hours versus 24 to 48 hours.”
This quicker turn-around time can be critical when it comes to alerting people who may have been in contact with a patient who tests positive. It can help ensure that they also get tested and quarantine to prevent further spread.
The PCR testing that CMC is performing is the same that is used by the Maine CDC and other independent labs. Since starting in-house testing, CMC has run more than 50 tests.
“Currently, we are only testing patients who are admitted to the hospital or are being transferred to another facility and need to be tested prior to being admitted at the new location,” said Karen Stackhouse, R.N., Primary Charge of the Cary lab. “We are also supporting other area hospitals by testing for them as well.”
The Maine CDC has announced that they are looking to lift some restrictions on who can be tested, which will allow providers to request testing for any patient that they feel need to be tested.
“We are working to build up our supply of cartridges and other testing materials, so that we can provide testing to more patients as the restrictions are lifted,” said Stackhouse.
Cary Medical Center posts updates on COVID-19 and daily testing results on their website at www.carymedicalcenter.org.